There are numerous methods to explain how horrid 2020 was, and to be trustworthy, this yr has rather a lot to make up for. Disastrous and ‘write-off’ are simply a few phrases to precisely describe the impression of the nationwide lockdown.
However, not every thing was doom and gloom, and a whole lot of good has come from being compelled to remain residence – particularly for petrolheads with initiatives.
Many companies needed to shut their doorways, whereas many individuals misplaced their jobs because the reverberating impact that the coronavirus pandemic had on the financial system was felt in additional methods than one, not solely in South Africa however the remainder of the world too.
As lockdown Degree 5 compelled all the vast majority of locations of labor to close down, most individuals did not know if having a job the following day was a certainty.
Do you personal an previous Mercedes-Benz? Email us, we might prefer to find out about it.
Whereas the stressing and numerous second-placed finishes to an internet gamer from Italy in Gran Turismo Sport was sufficient to maintain me busy, there was one factor that all the time stayed the identical – but repeatedly decreases.
As a result of all the same old revenue suckers like buying malls and automotive dealerships weren’t working in the course of the first phases of lockdown, folks saved massively on issues they’d have spent cash on in any other case. For these nonetheless lucky to have been receiving an revenue, the nationwide lockdown was, in a bizarre manner, a blessing in disguise – albeit solely financially.
It was in the course of the fifth and fourth ranges of the nationwide lockdown that I did a number of calculations with the cash I had saved as much as that time, and I used to be within the place to purchase myself a sub-R30 000 automotive. The price range wasn’t as huge as I would have favored, however with endurance and a little bit of luck, there may be a cut price discover, which is what occurred to me.
For the longest time, I’ve all the time had the epiphany to personal an previous ‘Benz sometime, however by no means received fairly received round to creating a conservative effort in bringing it to fruition.
Whereas I am not a lot of a Fb person, my pal Jaylan Scholtz was, and he was shopping the platform’s market when he got here throughout a 1993 Mercedes-Benz 190E or W201. I all the time had a mushy spot for the W201 sequence since laying eyes on an immaculate 2.3-16 Cosworth a few years in the past.
For a list value of R28 000 negotiable, a number of issues had been going by means of my thoughts: What was the situation of the tyres? Was the inside half respectable? Was it in any accidents? These questions, and plenty of, extra had been flooding my thoughts on the drive to Elfindale within the Southern Suburbs of Cape City.
Getting some contemporary air
Upon seeing the automotive in individual, a nostalgic blue two-tone physique scheme, it was clear that cash needed to be put apart for a respray as scratches on the doorways, boot and, a giant rust spot on the bonnet had been instantly noticeable. The tyres had been additionally on their final legs. Moreover these points, it had each single unique half in place from 1993 – even the sealed first assist package! The automotive is initially from Lambert’s Bay, and I might be the second proprietor because the man I might be shopping for it from hadn’t put it in his identify but.
My 190 could be very a lot a base mannequin, these of which got here with a 1.8-litre engine, coupled to a four-speed gearbox whereas power-wise it makes 80kW and 150Nm. It does not sound like a lot on paper, however in a physique weighing 1 150kg, its no slouch.
Mercedes Benz 190E
As soon as I received inside, it was like moving into a brand new 190E. The inside was neat and clear, and the dashboard was flawless (I used to be afraid of solar publicity). I made my thoughts up there after which to take it. After negotiating with the proprietor, the value was agreed, and the cash was transferred. Having owned later mannequin automobiles up to now, this was my first ‘old-fashioned’ experience.
The very first thing was to take away the generic hubcaps and substitute all 4 tyres. I managed to supply a clear set of hubs off of a C-Class for a cut-price and match new rubber on the identical time. The automotive was sprayed by my pal Jaylan, the place it was coated within the manufacturing facility paint for a brand new lease on life. With I am pedantic about retaining every thing OEM, every physique and mechanical element on the automotive is an unique Mercedes-Benz product – bar solely the water pump.
As soon as every thing on the automotive was completed, the inside petrolhead in me yearned for one thing extra. The ideas of a drop in suspension, and becoming a set of bigger wheels crossed my thoughts, however on the time, was a distant dream. Because the months handed and the lockdown restrictions slowly eased, I had saved up a good bit of money when August got here round.
My desires of becoming air experience suspension turned increasingly more extreme with every passing day, and after getting quotations from a number of installers round Cape City, every was far more than I even paid for the automotive itself! I did loads of ‘soul looking’ as a result of I might purchase one other automotive as a substitute of placing my eggs in a single basket.
As soon as my thoughts was made up, I spoke to native wheel guru Shabeer Motala of Shaba Mags and needed to know who fitted the air experience in his mint and uber-rare two-door Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk4 as a result of I do know that man does not let anybody work on his experience. I used to be informed to provide Starlin Karstern of SK Airworx a name primarily due to his total craft and after-service communication.
Working from his residence in Paarl, Karsten defined the distinction between the 2 setups out there for my automotive and in addition price range in enough element. I went with the extra fundamental system which is to make the automotive go up and down. The dearer technique includes every bellow being operated individually through distant management, and a standalone ECU. I used to be given a date on which to carry the automotive, and the method would take roughly two weeks.
I opted for a fundamental set up which consists of 4 slimline, double bellow baggage operated on a 145psi compressor tank. As a result of the 190E’s suspension comes inventory with the coil spring and shock absorber positioned separate from each other, I paid a bit further for the entrance baggage. The compressor tank was bolted towards the highest of the boot, to permit for boot area and all of the wiring and air strains run alongside the brake line.
It was per week and three days later, once I obtained a name that my automotive was prepared for assortment.
An actual ‘golden oldie’
Earlier than I arrived, the automotive was given some tender love and care by DRIP Auto detailing. These guys know the way to deal with a automotive, and I might advocate them to anybody on the lookout for a high quality automotive wash.
All the pieces from air stress and when to launch water from the compressor was defined to me completely. Starlin is among the coolest petrolheads you will come throughout. He as soon as owned a bagged Toyota Corolla Skilled and is at present constructing a 2JZ-fitted Hilux bakkie.
As I browsed the native 190E and wider W-series scene, I noticed that a lot of them saved the manufacturing facility paint job, solely fitted with greater aftermarket wheels, and lowered ultimately. The manufacturing facility look is cool by way of getting extra money out of it if you happen to determine to promote it sooner or later, as a result of an previous Merc will virtually all the time promote.
Picture: Robin Classen
The automotive underwent a full month of preparation, utterly stripped of its former glory, now able to obtain a brand new lease on life. Whereas the automotive was within the working room I sourced a few extras like LED reverse and headlights and had the back lights ‘cherried’ by Slowy’s Customs in Ottery.
A fast search on Youtube revealed that not many in South Africa had any older Mercedes-Benz coated in two-tone Metallic Blue. As soon as the jigsaw items had been assembled, the tip product was precisely how I had pictured it in my head. I opted towards going with an aftermarket wheel and as a substitute retained the hubcaps for a fuller OEM look.
Future plans for the automotive embody sourcing a Zender rear spoiler, rear window louvre, and presumably becoming a set of 18-inch wheels.